Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup Honored By Confluence Award

Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15
Pictured from left to right, are Gretchen Lugthart and Katie Owens, Conasauga River Watershed organizers, accepting the Confluence award from Rivers Alive representative Lynn Cobb during the River’s Alive award ceremony on April 15

Volunteers and stream cleanup organizers from across the state recently met in Atlanta to celebrate the accomplishments of the state’s largest volunteer cleanup program, Rivers Alive.  The Rivers Alive awards honor the efforts of individuals and groups who are working to improve Georgia’s waterways, one trash bag at a time.  Volunteers wade into rivers, lakes and coastal waters each fall as part of the continuing statewide campaign to clean and preserve more than 70,000 miles of Georgia waterways.

The Rivers Alive awards ceremony, held on April 15, at Zoo Atlanta, recognized groups of volunteers, as well as individuals and businesses for their efforts in 2013.  The Confluence award, which recognizes successful community partnerships, was awarded to organizers of the annual Conasauga River Watershed Cleanup event.  Confluence, defined as the flowing together of two or more streams, or rivers, clearly describes the coming together of local organizations for one purpose.  The members of the organizing committee for the annual cleanup are Jeff Carrier (Carpet & Rug Institute), Dirk Verhoeff (Conasauga River Alliance & Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority), Gretchen and John Lugthart (Dalton State College), Phillip Pfeifer and David Oxford (Dalton Utilities), Sandy Adams (Keep Chatsworth-Murray Beautiful), Liz Swafford (Keep Dalton-Whitfield Beautiful), Josh Smith and Dan Huser (Limestone Valley RC & D), Brenda Jackson (Murray County Extension), Katie Owens (The Nature Conservancy), and Chris Hester (Whitfield County).

“This is certainly an appropriate award for our group,” said John Lugthart, one of the organizers and a Dalton State professor of biology.  “We have a great team of people, all of whom are committed to educating our community about the importance of protecting our local streams and the Conasauga River.  We are coming up on our 20th annual cleanup and are still going strong!” 

During the 2013 watershed cleanup 258 volunteers from Whitfield and Murray Counties removed trash, debris, and invasive plants from seven sites in the two counties.  Overall, volunteers collected and removed 8,329 pounds of trash and 37 tires. 

Funding sponsors for the 2013 event included: Shaw Industries, J&J Industries, Dalton Utilities, Dalton-Whitfield Solid Waste Authority, The Nature Conservancy, and the Conasauga River Alliance. 

At the state level, during the 2013 Cleanup, 27,679 volunteers cleaned more than 1,800 miles of waterways and removed over 500,000 pounds of trash and recyclables, including car parts, grocery carts, luggage, basketballs, TVs, sinks, bicycles, tires and plastic bottles. Rivers Alive is a program of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division. “Rivers Alive cleanups provide important opportunities for citizens to make a big difference while volunteering just a few hours of their time,” said EPD Director Jud Turner. “Citizens return home with a greater awareness of how our everyday choices impact our environment.”

Claire Henley: Adventures West (The Prevalence Of Providence)

(Editor's Note: Chattanoogan Claire Henley started an adventure of a lifetime on the remote Pacific Crest Trail in April. Along the way, she had many adventures and found herself a husband named Big Spoon). I needed this walk up Sonora Pass. Big Spoon and I had traveled over one thousand miles, and the last stretch through the rigorous, white cliff climbs of Yosemite Wilderness ... (click for more)

Hunting Opportunities For The Wheelchair Bound

Cordell Hull Wildlife Management Area provides hunting opportunity for wheelchair bound hunters.  A wheelchair bound hunting zone on Cordell Hull WMA provides 6 blinds on a first come, first served basis. This zone is open only to hunters who are totally and permanently confined to a wheelchair as certified by a physician. On wheelchair-bound deer hunts, each wheelchair-bound ... (click for more)

Legislative Hearing On Volkswagen Emissions Scandal To Be Held In Chattanooga Oct. 29; Haslam To Visit VW Plant Wednesday

The Senate Finance, Ways and Means Committee’s Appropriation Subcommittee will be conducting a hearing in Chattanooga to review the financial impact on the state from Volkswagen’s violation of U.S. emissions standards. The meeting will be held at the Hamilton County Department of Education, 3074 Hickory Valley Road, on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 1:30-3:30 p.m.  Members ... (click for more)

Bradley County Commission Decides Not To Provide Animal Pickup Service

Bradley County Commissioners on Monday finally put animal control to rest. It was not easy and it was not without confusion, but in the end, the county will not provide animal pickup service. Confusion began when commissioners were asked to approve the agenda, which included two options for animal control pick up. Item “D” provided for the SPCA of Bradley County to pick ... (click for more)

VW PILOT Crash Landing

The Volkswagen emission scandal proves the point citizen activist, Ms. Helen Burns Sharp, has repeatedly brought to the attention of local government officials. She urged them to "beef up" the PILOT contracts before approving PILOT tax abatements. Any logical person would agree, because it is the only way to recoup a tax loss when unthinkable situations arise. Volkswagen's willful ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: VW’s Primer In Disaster

Volkswagen America has gotten into a real bad “tight,” causing their red-faced leaders to huddle with spin doctors, crisis consultants and countless priests in confessional booths. Conversely, I suspect I have found a solution that would get them out of the mud and hasten their return as one of the top automotive providers in the world. You see, on Aug. 14, 1979, the playbook on ... (click for more)